Yaka Mein

Jubo's just the job in Exmouth Market by Tom Moggach

FOR the greedy, Exmouth Market is a minefield. Faced by so many tempting bars and restaurants, we polished off two dinners back to back.

Our final destination was Jubo, a new Korean place. But we couldn’t deny ourselves a detour to Morito, among the best tapas bars in London. Their slow roasted pork belly doused in lemon juice and ground cumin (£7) is impossible to resist. Moreover, eating here is far cheaper than a blowout in Moro, their parent restaurant next door. 

A few steps further up, another new restaurant and butchers is drawing the crowds, too. 

We poked our heads in but resisted the urge to sit down. 

The concept at Macellaio is unusual: they import the best beef and tuna from Italy, dry age the meats on site to intensify flavour, then slice them up for a short menu of simple, rustic dishes.

Vast hunks of beef dangle in their window. I’m told they recently showed off a whole bluefin tuna weighing several hundred kilos. (Yes, I know – we’ve been told not to eat this species. But the owner cites a recent census showing that populations in the Mediterranean have bounced back.) 

Such is the churn of restaurants In Exmouth Market that we finally walked into Jubo with a strange sense of déjà vu. 

As the waitress confirmed, this venue was previously home to a short-lived business called GB Pizza, which struggled among this stiff local competition. 

Jubo takes no bookings. Expect to share a table and eat with your fingers. Décor is basic and de rigueur: bare brick walls, bare light bulbs, bare wooden counters. You know the drill. 

There’s a bar up front, shaking cocktails including specialties made with “soju”, a spirit wildly popular in South Korea. 

Their signature dish is “K.F.C” – Korean Fried Chicken. Here it’s exceedingly moreish: fried twice for extra crunch then slathered in a sweet, spicy glaze and dusted with sesame seeds. 

Snacky starters include seaweed rolls, prawn fritters, and excellent bbq skewers, threaded with cherry tomatoes and asparagus wrapped in crispy bacon, slivers of pork belly and roast garlic, or chicken with sweet onion. 

A main course soup was a hit: a clear, intense beefy broth, fat wheat noodles, ribbons of skirt beef, shaved cucumber, crispy onions and half a boiled egg. On other tables, the filled steamed buns also seemed a must-order dish. Vegetarians (but not vegans) are catered for, with several rice and noodle dishes, along with two salads starring intriguing ingredients such as glass noodles, crispy lotus root and salted seaweed stems.  

Prices are reasonable: around £10 per head without drinks and service for a quick lunch; perhaps double that for a larger meal to share.

Jubo is recommended if you crave something different – a bit of surprise and adventure. Korean food is far from mainstream and there’s plenty to explore. 

I doubt you’ll leave hungry, but if you do – well, you’re certainly in the right place. 

JUBO
50 Exmouth Market, EC1R
020 7278 9380